When Forgiving Seems Impossible

“When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed Him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on His right and one on His left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Luke 23:33-34a NLT

How do we forgive a wrong done against us? How do we forgive when the wrong was done purposefully, knowingly and perpetually?

During 1944, Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie experienced the horror of life under Hitler’s National Socialists in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Emaciated women dressed in prison garb worked long hours every day under the watchful eye of the cruel Nazi guards. Betsie, died in Ravensbruck, a victim of the tortuous conditions.

In 1947, after the war, Corrie spoke to a group of Germans in a sparsely furnished Munich church basement. During her talk, she said, "Those who have been able to forgive their former enemies have been able to rebuild their lives...We, as Christians, have every reason to forgive each other, for our God richly lavishes His mercy on us."

When she finished, she was approached by a balding, heavyset man in a gray overcoat. Horror filled her as she realized he had been one of the ruthless prison guards at Ravensbruck.

He thrust out his hand. "How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!" Dumbfounded, Corrie did not take his hand. He went on, "I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me... but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein, will you forgive me?"

Corrie looked down at his outstretched hand and remembered how he had treated Betsie. She didn't feel at all forgiving toward him. So Corrie did the only thing she could do, she whispered a prayer, “Jesus, help me.” and slowly lifted her hand toward his. Their hands touched and God flooded her heart with genuine forgiveness as she finally vigorously shook his hand. With tears in her eyes, she said, “I forgive you, brother...with all my heart.”

Corrie didn’t have the ability to forgive on her own. The pain was too deep. Her part was to be willing to forgive and ask God to help her forgive. God’s part was to fill her heart with forgiveness. Corrie experienced God’s mercy in the moment she chose to extend His mercy.

How do you forgive? By doing your part and letting God do His. And then do it again, and again and again. (Matthew 18:21-22)

Your View of God Really Matters…

God loves us no matter what we have done. He forgives us when we ask in Jesus name. Since God richly lavishes His mercy on us, we must show mercy. When forgiving seems impossible, choose by faith, like Corrie, to let go of all those old hurts caused by others, and ask God to enable you to forgive by the power of His Spirit.

Read Gods Word for today…

Acts 7:55-60But Stephan, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that he died.”

Matthew 18:21-22Then Peter came to Him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.”

GOD, because You are merciful, I know You will help me extend mercy to others.

Based on the writings of Bill Bright

©2019 Bright Media Foundation

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